A father of four from Prestonpans has been hailed a hero by his children after graduating from Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, earlier this month.
Iain Scott, who is 33 years old and lives in Pypers Wynd, graduated with BSc (Hons) Dietetics from QMU. His success, which was five years in the making, was celebrated by his four children: Maya (14); Adam (13); Jack (10); and Eilidh (9), who talked openly about their admiration and respect for their dad’s achievements.
A former pupil of Lasswade High School, Iain relocated from Midlothian to Prestonpans in 2010, where he has been raising his young family. During his four years at QMU, he has developed a reputation as one of the most engaged, inspiring and helpful students. With his passion for education he has worked tirelessly with University staff to support QMU’s efforts to widen higher education opportunities for people from all different backgrounds.
Aside from his course work, he has supported many fellow students - particularly mature students returning to education - and has helped staff deliver support programmes to college students making the leap to university-level education at QMU.
As a dedicated father with a passion for life-long-learning, Iain has taken every opportunity to encourage his children to develop a love of learning. His sons and daughters are all young learners with the Children’s University – an education initiative which was introduced to the east of Scotland by QMU.
In 2017, Scotland’s university sector not only recognised Iain’s contribution to education, but also his community campaigning work, by awarding him ‘Outstanding Contribution by a Student’, one of the top accolades at the Herald Higher Education Awards.
A positive force within the community, Iain has supported his community council, chaired his school’s parent council, and run campaigns to highlight the lack of nursery place provision. He is dedicated to his volunteering work with DadsWork, an East Lothian community project that works with fathers and male care-givers, and is a committee member of ‘Support from the Start’, which improves the lives of children from birth to the age of eight.
Iain’s earlier work with the NHS highlighted a need for family support in relation to food planning and cooking. Iain secured funding for a pilot project of his own initiative called ‘Cooking for Life’. Supported by the Community Health Promotion team, he ran courses for families from the most deprived areas, enhancing their cooking, meal planning and budgeting skills. During his time at University, he has worked with the Prestonpans Infant School and ‘Support for the Start’ to offer a summer lunch club at the local primary school, ensuring children in the most deprived areas access healthy, nutritious meals throughout the summer holidays. In the last year, he has also become a coach for the Musselburgh and District Athletics Club which also has links with QMU.
He has used the knowledge gained from his BSc (Hons) Dietetics studies at QMU, to bolster his work in the community. His workshops ‘You are what you eat’, delivered through the Children’s University, were always very popular with youngsters from East and Midlothian.
Speaking at his graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Iain, said: “Graduation is the culmination of five years study - one year on the Scottish Wider Access Programme and four years on the degree programme at QMU. It has been a journey of highs and lows, but I have enjoyed every minute of my time at the University. I have met some amazing people, taken part in so many exciting and varied activities and not only grown as an individual but become part of a family - the QMU family.
“I wouldn't have got where I am today if it wasn't for the love and support I have received from my friends and family. I hope I have managed to build aspirations for my own children as they have watched and supported my academic journey from student to professional dietitian.
“My plans for the future will continue to involve the University, as I look to set up my business as a freelance dietitian and health writer within QMU’s Business Innovation Zone. I’ll also be making full use of East Lothian’s Business Gateway which is based within the University and I hope to continue working for the NHS as I have done for nearly 14 years.”
Callum Maguire, Head of Outreach and Community Engagement at QMU, added: “Iain is an outstanding ambassador for the University. As a dedicated father of four young children, and an NHS shift worker, he is a shining example to all students of what can be achieved during the university journey when applying excellent time management, commitment, vision and a ‘can do’ selfless attitude.
“Iain epitomises QMU’s values by actively creating effective solutions to social inclusion issues, thereby promoting diversity and equality of opportunity. His dedication to the application of academic knowledge in food, nutrition and dietetics results in significant improvements in the lives of marginalised groups, which ultimately impacts positively on society.”
Paying tribute to Iain, Professor Petra Wend, Principal and Vice Chancellor of QMU, said: “We are immensely proud of Iain’s achievements. He has not only been an outstanding student, he is a trailblazer who has carved out a unique role at the University by merging the traditional roles of student, staff, volunteer and community activist into one which positively influences the lives of many different people. He is a hard-working, dedicated, entrepreneurial, and inspirational individual who seeks to use his knowledge and skills to make a difference in the world. The entire QMU community is richer for his contribution and we wish him every success in the future as his career develops.”
Notes to Editor
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